CFB Borden

Canadian Forces Base Borden
16 Wing Borden
Borden Heliport

Sherman tank displayed outside of Waterloo Officers' Mess at CFB Borden
Airport type Military
Owner Government of Canada
Operator Department of National Defence
Location Borden
Built 1916
Commander Colonel L.P. McGarry
Occupants No. 400 Squadron RCAF
Time zone EST (UTC−05:00)
  Summer (DST) EDT (UTC−04:00)
Elevation AMSL 729 ft / 222 m
Coordinates 44°16′18″N 079°54′45″W / 44.27167°N 79.91250°W / 44.27167; -79.91250Coordinates: 44°16′18″N 079°54′45″W / 44.27167°N 79.91250°W / 44.27167; -79.91250

Location of CFB Borden in Ontario

Number Length Surface
ft m
H1 100 30 Asphalt

Canadian Forces Base Borden (also CFB Borden, French: Base des Forces canadiennes Borden or BFC Borden) is a Canadian Forces base located in Ontario.

The historic birthplace of the Royal Canadian Air Force, CFB Borden is home to the largest training wing in the Canadian Armed Forces.[2] The base is run by Canadian Forces Support Training Group (CFSTG) and reports to the Canadian Defence Academy (CDA) in Kingston.


Soldiers training for trench warfare at Camp Borden in 1916.

At the height of the First World War, the Borden Military Camp opened at a location on a glacial moraine west of Barrie in 1916 to train units for the Canadian Expeditionary Force. It was named for Sir Frederick Borden, Minister of Militia.[3] In May 1916, the Barrie and Collingwood companies of the 157th Battalion (Simcoe Foresters), CEF (perpetuated today by The Grey and Simcoe Foresters ), under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel D.H. MacLaren, began construction of the camp.

Camp Borden was selected in 1917 for a military aerodrome, becoming the first flying station of the Royal Flying Corps Canada. During the inter-war period, the aerodrome was used as the training location for the nascent Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and was renamed RCAF Station Borden. Camp Borden's training grounds were expanded in 1938 to house the Canadian Tank School. The Siskins were a Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) aerobatic flying team that was established in 1929 at Camp Borden.

During the Second World War, both Camp Borden and RCAF Station Borden became the most important training facility in Canada, housing both army training and flight training, the latter under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP). The BCATP's No. 1 Service Flying Training School (SFTS) was located here until 1946. Relief landing fields were located at Alliston and Edenvale.

A third landing field, known locally as Leach's Field, was operated by Camp Borden from the 1920s to the 1950s. The L-shaped airstrip was rudimentary; the "runways" at Leach's Field utilized the existing ground surface. It was primarily used for touch-and-go flying.

During the Cold War, Borden's importance as an RCAF facility in Ontario declined in favour of CFB Trenton, CFB Uplands and CFB North Bay. However, its use as an army facility stayed consistent until 1970 when a major reorganization of the combat arms' schools resulted in the transfer of the Infantry School and Armoured School to CFB Gagetown in New Brunswick. On the other hand, numerous "purple" (i.e. tri-service) schools were established or expanded from existing service training establishments, including the Canadian Forces School of Administration and Logistics, the School of Aerospace Ordnance Engineering and the Canadian Forces Health Service Training Centre.

The February 1, 1968 unification of the RCAF with the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Army resulted in the creation of the Canadian Forces. The military facilities consisting of Camp Borden and RCAF Station Borden were grouped under a new name, Canadian Forces Base Borden (CFB Borden). The aerodrome was closed in 1970 and the base saw use as a regular and reserve training facility for Canadian Forces Land Force Command (the army), as well as hosting various land-based training courses for Canadian Forces Air Command (the air force). In a 1990s reorganization of the Canadian Forces following the end of the Cold War, CFB Borden's air force training facilities were grouped under the name 16 Wing Borden.

The eight surviving Royal Flying Corps hangars at the base have been designated a National Historic Site of Canada.[4][5]


The Ontario Heritage Foundation, Ministry of Culture and Recreation erected a plaque in 1976.

Camp Borden was established during the First World War as a major training centre of Canadian Expeditionary Force battalions. The Camp (including this structure) was officially opened by Sir Sam Hughes, Minister of Militia and Defence, on July 11, 1916, after two months of intensive building. This military reserve, comprising over twenty square miles, was soon occupied by some 32,000 troops. Training facilities were expanded in 1917 with the institution of an air training programme under the Royal Flying Corps, Canada, and the construction of the first Canadian military aerodrome, regarded as the finest military aviation camp in North America. Following the armistice Camp Borden continued as an important army and air force centre and became one of the largest armed forces bases in Canada.[6]

Activities and facilities

Map of the base.

Although originally an air force training base, CFB Borden is now a training base for several elements of the Canadian Forces:

In addition to these specific environmental element commands, CFB Borden houses a variety of other purple trades training facilities and headquarters within the Canadian Forces, including a fire-fighting school, Military Police (MP) school, a chaplaincy school, the Canadian Forces Recruiting Group, medical, dental and language schools, and supports local cadet and reserve units. The Toronto Police Service's Emergency Task Force also trains there occasionally.

CFB Borden hosts the Blackdown Cadet Training Centre, a facility established for training army cadets. This facility has also hosted air cadets and sea cadets since 2003, when the Borden Air Cadet Summer Training Centre was closed.

CFB Borden's residential area houses one regulation-sized golf course (Circled Pine Golf Course, par 72). Circled Pine Golf Course opened in 1952. The course is open to the public and serving Military. The base previously housed a 9-hole links style course, Anderson Park, which originally opened in 1917 but closed after the 2015 season.

Base Borden has multiple facilities available to Canadian Armed Forces members that include the Terra theatre, Circled Pine Bowling Centre, two gyms (Buell Fitness & Aquatic Centre and the sub gym, aka 'the bubble'), multiple soccer fields, baseball diamonds, Andy Anderson arena and biking trails.

The Base Borden Military Museum (combining four separate museums) has numerous items, equipment and vehicles from all eras of Canadian military history, including a large number of armoured vehicles and aircraft displayed outside in Worthington Park and around the headquarters area of the base.

In August 2010, the Canadian department of Defence announced a C$209 million series of projects to construct new facilities, and upgrade existing facilities, at CFB Borden.[7]

Former runways

Borden used to have two asphalt runways facing east and west:[8]

Only the taxiway and a small section of runway 05/23 remains today (rest is covered with grass), with a helicopter pad at the base of the runway.

Lodger formations and units

Lodger units

Lodger training establishments

Training establishments


The aircraft Control Tower is dedicated to the memory of Royal Flying Corps Cadet James Harold Talbot. Talbot became the first fatality at Camp Borden when his Curtiss J.N.4 'Jenny' aeroplane crashed on April 8, 1917.

The Air Force Annex of the Base Borden Military Museum is dedicated to the memory of First World War Victoria Cross recipient Lieutenant Alan McLeod, the youngest Canadian Airman to receive the award.

Worthington Park, a part of the Base Borden Military Museum complex, named after Major-General F.F. Worthington, the father of the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps. Worthington is buried in Worthington Park.


CFB Borden has several Federal Heritage buildings on the Register of the Government of Canada Heritage Buildings.[10]


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